Contractor Combines Cat 963 Track Loader with 6-Way Dozer Blade (Video)

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Stutsman Gerbaz Cat 963 track loader with six-way dozer blade
"It's the only one in the world," says Shay Stutsman. The Aspen contractor now has the first track loader equipped with a quick-attach, six-way dozer blade.
AMI Attachments

About a year ago, Aspen-based contractor Shay Stutsman was looking for a better, more efficient way to use his fleet of track loaders.

He had achieved success with reducing the amount of machinery on jobsites with quick-attach couplers – in which all the links and hydraulic hoses are connected automatically from the cab – on Stutsman Gerbaz Earthmoving’s excavators. With the coupling system, operators can line up all the attachments they need for a job and switch tools on the go within seconds – buckets, hammers, compactors – whatever they need. The excavator essentially becomes a toolcarrier, doing the work of multiple machines.

Stutsman wondered if he could do the same with a Cat 963 track loader.

“I reached out to AMI Attachments, about a year ago and came up with this crazy idea when we were initially buying a new track loader,” he says.

After collaborating with AMI Attachments, OilQuick, Caterpillar and Trimble, he can now say he has the first 963 track loader with a six-way dozer blade – one that can be connected and disconnected without leaving the cab and is equipped with 3D machine control.

“It's a completely new design. It is a one-of-a-kind design,” Stutsman says. “It is designed specifically to go on to a track loader, but the blade itself is the equivalent of the D5 or what I would call the D6N.

“It’s the only one in the world.”

(Check out the video of it in action at the end of this story.)

Why a Six-Way Blade?

Track loader with tilted dozer bladeThe project to equip a Stutsman Gerbaz track loader with a six-way dozer blade, a quick-attach coupler and 3D machine control involved AMI Attachments, OilQuick, Caterpillar and Trimble.AMI AttachmentsTrack loaders are a staple on Stutsman Gerbaz jobsites for grading because of the steep terrain and the complex work they perform. The company was the first to equip them with 3D machine control. (On the cutting edge of technology, Stutsman is Equipment World's 2023 Contractor of the Year and has also been testing the first excavator bucket in the U.S. equipped with ground-penetrating radar.)

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Adding a six-way dozer blade makes the loaders more versatile and eliminates the need for a dozer or additional excavator on jobs, Stutsman says.

For example, the company is currently using the track loader with six-way blade on building a horse arena complex.

“If we had the dozer on the job, we’d have a bunch of spoils and other material that we’d have to load up,” he explains. “We would also need to have a wheel loader or an excavator on the jobsite in order to load that spoil, put it into a truck, and some of the demolition debris that we're hauling out from the old horse-riding arenas.

“So being able to switch back and forth between a bucket and the dozer blade allows us to just have one machine on the jobsite versus having a dozer and a loader and/or an excavator.”

His younger operators were also an inspiration for the six-way blade. They were having some difficulty angling a traditional bucket to grade on certain slopes.

“A lot of our grading projects have a lot of complexity to them,” he explains. “There's a lot of angles, a lot of pitch and a lot of roll.”

Getting the Right Design

quick attach coupler for track loaderWith this AMI, OilQuick coupler, a track loader or wheel loader operator can connect and disconnect attachments within seconds without leaving the cab.AMI AttachmentsAMI Attachments, which designed and produced the six-way dozer blade and the coupler in partnership with OilQuick, has been bringing the concept of a quick coupler for wheel loaders to trade shows, starting with Utility Expo in September 2023, according to AMI spokesman Jeff Brubacher.

Stutsman’s reveal of his track loader system on social media was its “real introduction into the field,” Brubacher says.

With track loaders being more of a niche machine, the company expects the OilQuick coupler system for wheel loader attachments to be a bigger market. But the basic concept is the same – quickly changing attachments to increase efficiency, enabling one machine to do the job of many.

The challenge has been developing a coupler that can be sturdy enough for a large loader yet able to make the necessary tight connections. He says the new product has met that challenge.

“It's got covers on it; so when you do connect to, for example, a simple digging bucket, the ports on the machine side are covered up and protected from any kind of dirt and mud and ice and grime. And then when you're ready, you can disconnect the ports. The covers open up automatically, and then you can connect to your power attachment.”

Stutsman’s idea acted as a catalyst to further develop the quick-attach concept for large loaders, Brubacher says.

“It's kind of been in the wings there for a while, but with Shay's involvement, he was a great candidate to help us test it.

“…The design of it has been standing up to Shay’s use of it.”

What’s Next?

six-way dozer blade on track loader pushing dirtAMI Attachments and OilQuick have launched the quick coupler for wheel and track loader markets for rapidly changing attachments without leaving the cab.AMI AttachmentsStutsman says his operators love the new blade and quick-coupler system. Along with the dozer blade, they can quickly change among five different attachments.

“If they're on a utility job, you have a site dump bucket,” he says. “If you're on a demolition job, you have the demolition bucket. So it's trying to do what we did with our excavators and use the right tool for the right job.”

Currently, all Stutsman Gerbaz excavators have the OilQuick connect system. The company is in the process of equipping a new 963 track loader with the system and six-way blade.

“I'm anticipating that in time all of our track loaders will have OilQuick,” Stutsman says.

Having them equipped with 3D machine control is also a plus for attracting and retaining young operators.

“The younger guys are much more apt to want to try to learn a machine that has all the fancy tools and attachments with it,” he says.

Watch it in Action

During a recent visit to Stutsman Gerbaz, AMI Attachments shot some video of the company's Cat 963 with the new AMI/OilQuick coupler and AMI's six-way dozer blade.

The video shows the track loader quickly attaching to various buckets and the dozer blade to demonstrate how it can help reduce the number of machines on a job, increase productivity and save operators time.

Check it out below: